The Story of Harriet Tubman

Feb 14, 2019

Waterloo native MaKayla McDonald made Iowa proud when she sang the title role in the New York premiere of Thea Musgrave’s The Story of Harriet Tubman, put on by Utopia Opera in New York.

Credit Meche Kroop for Voce di Meche

Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave produced a chamber music version of her original full opera Harriet the Woman Called Moses. The Story of Harriet Tubman “concerns an individual gifted with those rare qualities of courage and imagination which enabled her to overcome seemingly insuperable odds.” The famous force behind the Underground Railroad is celebrated as an inspiration to everyone who asks the question “what can one person do?”

Credit Richard Sasanow for Broadway World

Soprano MaKayla McDonald sang the role of Harriet Tubman in Musgrave’s premiere. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music in Voice Performance at UNI. Her passion lies in performing new music. MaKayla’s voice is described as having “soared as she expressed the heroine’s fears, memories of her harrowing escape, and her great hopes and dreams.” It seems that no one could have played the role of Harriet better than MaKayla.

As part of IPR’s Black History Month tribute, please listen below to hear how MaKayla portrayed and sang the role of Harriet Tubman.

For more information on Utopia Opera, please visit

For more information on Thea Musgrave and her work, visit